The Mourning Run
How Running. . . helped. by Robert Broder
The Mourning Run
Ground is slushy
I don’t mind if my socks get wet
I’ll continue to run
Leaping over big puddles
And crunching on thin ice
My playlist is on shuffle
As the chatter is on repeat
Thinking of you
It’s always about
All this breath work
Be in the moment, they say
But they, don’t know.
Be still, I tell myself
And I try
And then out for another
After my daughter Stella was born not breathing, and hours later leaving my wife at the hospital to sit in an ambulance heading to an emergency NICU in Boston, to find out she is brain damaged globally and will have no chance of life, 12 days later she took her last breath in my arms . . . now what?
So that was it, just leave the hospital and go back to everyday life. Like the past nine months never happened. The excitement of welcoming a baby, the singing, hugging, and kissing my wife’s belly, the prep into making her room so special… all for no reason.
We’re just supposed to go back to work and deal with the regular socialization we all must do in everyday life. Like nothing even happened. Yet, your body, your brain, your soul is frozen. Frozen in time, in thoughts, in dreams, in feelings, in every breathing moment.
MY DAUGHTER JUST DIED!
You don’t expect a nurse to ask you what you would like to do with the body of your 12-day-old daughter—finding myself two days after she died, pulling into the funeral home parking lot, picking up her ashes in a hypnotic state.
After Stella died, my wife and I, and our dog Alice, got in the car and headed out west. The thought of going back to work and regular life things was not even an option. The Grand Canyon was the main destination. No other reason than we just couldn’t stay home. With Stella’s room all set for her, she would never get to see a space with the beautiful mural Amanda painted with a tree and an owl and a moon. The crib and cute mobile we bought. The changing table and rocking chair we meticulously picked out. All the things from the baby shower were completely irrelevant. We closed the bedroom door to our two-bedroom home and headed west. When we got to Moab, we hiked around Arches National Park and Canyonlands. And when we were alone, we’d cry. I’d think about why we were there and how we didn’t want to be. We thought we should be at home with Stella doing all everyday new baby things. When we made it to the Grand Canyon, Amanda said, “I’m ready to head home. And if you want, I will try again.”
When we got home, everything was still in a different reality. What do you mean I have to go back to work? What do you mean I have to go grocery shopping and communicate like a normal person contributing to society? My daughter just died.
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